Late Damari winner saves Hapoel Tel Aviv

Hapoel beats Ramat Hasharon 1-0 to close on Maccabi TA; Betar edges Acre 3-2.

Hapoel Tel Aviv's Omer Damari 370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Tel Aviv's Omer Damari 370
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
An 88th-minute goal by Omer Damari breathed much-needed life into Hapoel Tel Aviv’s Premier League title challenge on Saturday, snapping a four-game winless streak by giving the team a 1-0 victory over Hapoel Ramat Hasharon at a drenched Bloomfield Stadium.
Tel Aviv was anything but impressive yet again, but it finally got back to winning ways and closed to within a single point of league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv thanks to Damari’s ninth league goal of the season.
“We controlled the possession, but didn’t create many chances,” said Hapoel’s relieved coach Yossi Abuksis.
“I hope that we can kick on from here. We have had better games this season in which we didn’t pick up points so maybe this result balances it out.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv can reestablish a four-point gap when it visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Monday.
Betar Jerusalem also picked up all three points for the first time in five matches on Saturday, beating Hapoel Acre 3-2 on the road.
Haim Megrelashvili gave Betar the lead in the sixth minute, but Acre equalized just three minutes later courtesy of a clinical Nebojsa Marinkovic finish.
A superb strike by Hen Azriel from the edge of the box put Jerusalem back in front in the 19th minute, but Moshe Mishaelof’s header (62) brought Acre back to level terms, only for Ofir Kriaf to score the winner for Betar in the 73rd minute.
“These are three priceless points,” said delighted Betar coach Eli Cohen after seeing his team climb up to fifth place in the standings.
Hapoel Haifa finally claimed its second victory of the season on Saturday, beating Bnei Yehuda 2-1 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Vladimir Gluscevic’s opener (2) for the hosts was canceled out by Pedro Galvan’s penalty (24), but Yuval Avidor gave Haifa all three points in the 74th minute to the delight of under-fire coach Nir Klinger.
“My goal is to prove to everyone that they are wrong,” said Klinger, whose team remained rock-bottom despite the win.
While Haifa snapped a seven-game winless streak, Maccabi Netanya won for the first time in nine encounters on Saturday, beating Hapoel Beersheba 3-1 on the road.
Lotem Zino gave Beersheba the lead in the 58th minute, scoring from the rebound of Tomer Swisa’s missed penalty, but Dragan Ceran (68), Ali Khatib (82) and Ahmed Saba (90) completed the comeback for Netnaya.
Hapoel Ramat Gan ensured that three of the bottom four sides won on Saturday, beating Bnei Sakhnin 2-1 at National Stadium in Ramat Gan.
Shimon Harush scored the opener for Sakhnin after just four minutes, only for Yero Bello to equalize with an own goal before Bernard Onanga netted a precious winner seven minutes from time.
On Sunday, Maccabi Haifa, which has won five of six matches, visits thirdplaced Ashdod SC.